You may remember Alex and Hannah from their STUNNING engagement photos at El Matador beach earlier this year. This is a couple that sits close to my heart, and I was so thrilled to photograph their wedding in June.

For starters, the bride and her ladies got ready in the home of childhood friend, and bridesmaid, Amanda. The atmosphere was so relaxed as the girls crowded around the master bath mirrors to apply their makeup. The upstairs was filled with laughter and upbeat music, while downstairs in the kitchen there was enough food to feed the girls for days. I loved that the mother-of-the-bride chose to get ready with the bridesmaids!

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An hour before she had to leave for the ceremony, the bride was joined by her immediate family for a few formal photos before the rush of friends and family.

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The groom and his gentlemen got ready at the wedding location – the Straethern Historical Park. We walked around the grounds to shoot some photos of them before the bride arrived. It was all fun and games until we accidentally set off  an alarm in the Barber Shop. It was all we could do not to run away laughing like little kids caught were we shouldn’t be.

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The park itself is absolutely gorgeous. A true Southern Californian location, with cacti and lots of sand and rocks, the location also managed to maintain several gardens full of brightly colored flowers. Hannah has excellent taste, and had worked hard to decorate the location with hand painted signs, birdcages full of flowers, lawn games, burlap, books and vintage treasures.

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When Hannah arrived, she found an outfit bought and laid out for her by the groom, along with the sweetest note full of encouragements. He had remembered a passing comment she had made months earlier about how cute the idea was, and of course, being the romantic guy he is, he had to do it.

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Hannah had texted me a few days before the wedding to make sure I photographed Alex when she walked down the aisle. She knew he was going to cry, and that the moment would pass too fast for her to remember it all. She looked stunning walking arm and arm with her dad, beaming with excitement for the commitment she was about to make to the love of her life!

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AND THEY ARE MARRIED! With the ceremony over, it’s time to take a lot of photos, eat, drink, listen to speeches, hug everyone and dance!

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How awesome is this? In-N-Out for dinner!

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One of Hannah’s friends made this beautiful (and delicious) wedding cake. But seriously, it tasted just as good as it looks.
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One of my favorite traditions, is to bring all the father-daughters and mother-sons on to the dance floor halfway through their respective songs. Even as the photographer, I tear up a little watching the relationships on the dance floor. If you have a wedding with a lot of family members, I would highly recommend doing this too.

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Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Gerbrandt. I hope newly married life is as full of love, sweet tears, laughter, dancing, Jesus and food as your wedding was.

 

Today marks five years since I met Ruth at The Master’s College where we lived on the same wing. She was a spunky red head with a great sense of humor and a love of adventure, and I was the fun-loving RA who believed time was made for going out and DOING things. I convinced the girl to come along on so many adventures, and along the way I took many many photos of her. She is SO photogenic! How could I not?

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I took a trip down memory lane and pulled a few of the images I’ve taken of Ruth over the years. I almost cried, remembering the sweet, funny, and crazy times we’ve had together.

A couple of weeks ago, I photographed Ruth again, in Pasadena. This time she had her fiance with her and it was not one of my adventures we were going on, but a day to stop and capture the beginnings of a new journey for them. Ruth is marrying Jeremy, a man with an equally great sense of humor and a solid character. He has loved this beautiful woman (because that’s what she is now) through four years of ups and downs. It has been a privilege to watch their love grow, and I am ecstatic for them to commit their forevers to each other in just over a month!

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She had eyes full of curiosity, silently assessing the group of 28 children clambering over one another to get to the snack table. They all wanted to be first in line for the chocolate covered bananas, but this one girl held back from the group. She scooched closer to me and smiled when she caught my eye. She looked at the chaos and then back at me, ready to tell me a story.

“I’ve been guessing people’s ages all week and I’ve been getting 90% of them right. I love ages.”

“I like the way you think, kiddo. What are you? 8?”

“YEAH! Good guess.”

“How old am I?”

“Ohhh, that’s so hard. 18? Maybe 19?”

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I had to smile at her guess. In reality, I just turned 26 – a far cry from my late teens. She looked shocked when I let out my real age, a little sad that I’d brought down her precious average. I think she was on to something though. I’ve lived on this earth 26 whole years, but I certainly don’t feel much older than 19.

I always thought I’d have my life together by 26 and that I’d be as close to perfect as I would ever get. But the truth is, life has only gotten more complicated in the last seven years and I often wonder if I have any clue about what I’m doing, haha. – – – My bed is next to the window so I can sleep in the moonlight and I stay up way to late every night. I have no idea what my next step in life is. I’m not addicted to coffee yet but my breakfast routine is non-existent. I still love to meet new people and wonder at the depth of human emotions and behaviors. I can’t get enough of 80’s music and I eat enough sugar to kill a diabetic. I sing with all the energy and emotion I have and I don’t care what others think of me. I love to love others and spend hours devising ways to make others feel special.

The more I think about it, that little girl didn’t need to lower her average after all. Truth be told, I feel a lot closer to 18 than I do to 30.

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